What’s Changed?

It’s been almost five months since I wrote a blog entry. What happened? Well, nothing, really. I simply got waylaid by a doctoral dissertation. Most PhD candidates fail to do something important while writing up their research. In my case, I failed to blog. But even while the blog was on hiatus, I have continued to think about First Nations’ history – and the history of my own people.

I began this reflection over a year ago. In that time, what has changed? What difference has it made?  What sort of impact have I achieved? Well, not much, really.  I have established some new friendships. I’ve encouraged a few like-minded souls. And I have made a very modest contribution to raising awareness among my network of friends and colleagues.

So I ask myself again: What’s changed? And I think about it for a while.  And finally I answer: ME. I have changed, because I now see the world a little bit differently.

I’ve glimpsed a First Nations’ perspective on local events, such as the use of deadly force by police, the cleanup of the Duwamish Waterway, and the bizarre effects of the movie “Twilight” on the Quileute Nation.  I’ve been dismayed by how mainstream culture keeps native issues ‘off the radar.’ Even in discussions about ethnic diversity and reconciliation, the First Nations often go unmentioned.  Also, my own ethical frame of reference has expanded. When my extended family talks of ‘oil rights’ in the Dakotas, I now wonder not only about environmental risks. I also wonder how exactly a person can own the ‘rights’ to a resource found under land that once belonged to the Sioux. All in all, I’ve got a lot more questions than answers.

I am only one person, but I am changing. It’s a start.

Published by Michelle G. Garred

Just Peace researcher, strategist and evaluator

%d bloggers like this: